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Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma (born 27 January 1949) is a South African politician and was an anti-apartheid activist. She was South Africa's Minister of Health from 1994 to 1999, under President Nelson Mandela, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 17 June 1999 to 10 May 2009, under Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Molanthe. She was moved to the position of Minister of Home Affairs in the Cabinet of President Jacob Zuma, her ex-husband, on 10 May 2009.


Early years

Dlamini-Zuma, a Zulu, was born in Natal, the eldest of eight children. She completed high school at the Amanzimtoti Training College in 1967. In 1971, she started her studies in Zoology and Botany at the University of Zululand, from where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Science (BSc). She subsequently started her medical studies at the University of Natal.


During her studies in the early 1970s, Dlamini-Zuma became an active underground member of the (then banned) African National Congress (ANC). At the same time, she was also a member of the South African Students Organisation and was elected as its deputy president in 1976.

During the same year Dlamini-Zuma fled into exile; she completed her medical studies at the University of Bristol in 1978. She subsequently worked as a doctor at the Mbabane government hospital in Swaziland, where she met her future husband, current ANC party president Jacob Zuma. In 1985 she returned to the United Kingdom in order to complete a diploma in tropical child health from Liverpool University's School of Tropical Medicine. After receiving her diploma, she worked for the ANC Regional Health Committee before accepting the position of director of the Health and Refugee Trust, a British non-governmental organization.


During the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) negotiations in 1992, Dlamini-Zuma was part of the Gender Advisory Committee. After the first all-inclusive South African elections of 1994, she was appointed as Minister of Health in the cabinet of President Nelson Mandela.

During her tenure as Minister of Health she was especially noted for enacting the Tobacco Products Control Bill in 1999, which made it illegal for anyone to smoke in public places. In June 1999, Dlamini-Zuma was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Thabo Mbeki.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has subsequently divorced from Jacob Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma has been awarded honorary Doctor of Law degrees by both the University of Natal (1995) and the University of Bristol (1996).

Other offices

She was offered the Deputy Presidency of South Africa by Thabo Mbeki after he fired Jacob Zuma, but declined it after talking to her children. The deputy presidency position was then offered to and accepted by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.[1]

She has been suggested as a possible ANC candidate for the Presidency in the 2009 election and for the leadership of the party. On November 15, 2007, she said that she would be willing to accept a nomination by the ANC,[2][3] although her spokesman said the next day that she had not entered the succession debate in the ANC.[4]

Dlamini-Zuma has been nominated for the party's deputy presidency by four provinces aligned to President Thabo Mbeki, while the five provinces backing her ex-husband ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma prefer her as the national chairperson. [1] She was elected to the ANC's 80-member National Executive Committee in December 2007 in 35th place, with 1,885 votes.[5]

On September 22, 2008, Dlamini-Zuma resigned along with 10 other ministers of the South African cabinet, the deputy president and the president. After Thabo Mbeki was ousted by the African National Congress, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was abroad and said to be filling her papers of resigning but she did not do it, she is still the Foreign Minister in Kgalema Motlanthe's cabinet.

In the Zuma cabinet she is serving as the Minister of Home Affairs. Some have viewed this as demotion but independent analysts say that with Home Affairs smeared by incompetence and laziness, a person of Dlamini-Zuma caliber will clean the department, a move that might suggest that she is a sound leader.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dlamini-Zuma can just 'pick 'n choose' Cape Times (IOL) November 27, 2007
  2. ^ Boyd Webb, "Is SA ready for a female president?", Cape Times (IOL), November 16, 2007.
  3. ^ "Dlamini-Zuma available for ANC leadership", Mail & Guardian Online, November 16, 2007.
  4. ^ "Dlamini-Zuma not in ANC succession debate", Mail & Guardian Online, November 16, 2007.
  5. ^ Brendan Boyle, "Winnie Mandela tops ANC election list", The Times (South Africa), December 21, 2007.

External links



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